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The 42-year-old finance manager hanged himself days after £ 250,000 of irregularities found on the GP service


A finance manager hanged himself on a farm days after discovering £ 250,000 worth of "irregularities" at the GP service he worked for.

Anthony Atherton, 42, spent 15 years with BARDOC, a company providing after-hours medical and GP services to Rochdale, Bury and Bolton.

He rose through the ranks to business and finance manager, but learned from a colleague in August last year that a review had revealed financial irregularities in the service.

He was found dead three days later at Boar Edge Farm in Bury, Greater Manchester, where he kept horses he owned.

A suicide conviction was recorded on Tuesday during the investigation into his death in the Rochdale Coroner Court.

His partner, Toddrick Marsh, announced that they had made plans to jointly buy a house that would have space to keep Mr. Atherton's horses.

Anthony Atherton, a finance manager of Bury, Greater Manchester, was found dead on a farm after discovering £ 250,000 worth of "irregularities" in the GP service he worked for

The investigation was informed that police are now investigating allegations of fraud against Mr Atherton of Bury.

Greater Manchester Police Department Detective Inspector Alison Witkiewicz told the hearing that in September, a month after his death, BARDOC reported allegations of fraud against Mr Atherton to the police.

She stated that the allegations were in the amount of approximately £ 250,000 and related to a period between April 2015 and June 2020.

The report was brought to the police after an agent was called in last April to review BARDOC's finances.

DI Witkiewicz said: “On August 11th, the employee informed Mr. Atherton of these irregularities.

"He was informed that he was not allowed to do any part of his job."

DI Witkiewicz said the police investigation into the allegations was still ongoing.

Mr Atherton's mother, Jeanette, said the allegations "sounded nothing like him" and described her son as a "sociable" person with a "large circle of friends".

He rose to the position of business and finance manager at BARDOC, but learned from a colleague in August last year that a review had uncovered financial irregularities in the service

He rose to the position of business and finance manager at BARDOC, but learned from a colleague in August last year that a review had uncovered financial irregularities in the service

Ms. Atherton said: “He was the life and soul of the party. He was very generous to his close friends who needed his help. & # 39;

She told the hearing that her son had a "high work ethic" and had worked as a nursing assistant before assuming a leadership role at BARDOC.

She said the last time she spoke to him by text message was on the evening of August 13th and that she had "nothing to worry".

However, the investigation found that Mr Atherton raised concerns to Human Resources in the months prior to his death after learning that a new manager was about to be brought to BARDOC with their own team.

His partner, Mr Marsh, announced that Mr Atherton's workload had increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic, causing him to put in extra hours.

Mr Marsh said Mr Atherton also filed a complaint against a colleague about a week before he died.

Mr. Marsh said he had known Mr. Atherton for about four years and described him as a "fun, happy person who got along with everyone".

Mr. Marsh said, “I don't know he's had any problems. Yes, he was under pressure at work, but he was good at it.

"I have no idea why Tony did what he did."

The investigation found that after the work was finished, Mr Atherton went to Boar Edge Farm on August 13th last year, where he kept his horses in a stable.

He called Mr. Marsh to say he would be home late.

Three days later he was found hanging in a stable on Boor Edge Farm (pictured) near Woodgate Avenue in Bury, Greater Manchester, where he kept his horses

Three days later he was found hanging in a stable on Boor Edge Farm (pictured) near Woodgate Avenue in Bury, Greater Manchester, where he kept his horses

While on the farm, shortly after 7:40 p.m., Mr. Atherton collected some milk from a friend who lived there, Deborah Cooper.

The couple talked for 10 minutes and Mr. Atherton confided that he was having a "hard time" at work and had complained against a colleague.

Ms. Cooper said he was "his normal self" and later returned to the stable.

During that evening, Mr. Atherton and Mr. Marsh exchanged several text messages before they fell asleep.

Mr. Marsh woke up at 2 a.m. and tried to call Mr. Atherton after fear that he had not responded to his most recent texts.

There was no answer, however, and Mr. Marsh fell asleep again.

He woke up at 6:30 am and still not heard from his partner, he texted Ms. Cooper asking her to check his horse box.

She went down to the stables where she found Mr. Atherton's body.

The pathologist Dr. Sami Titi cited Mr. Atherton's cause of death as a choking hazard from hanging.

BARDOC is based at the Moorgate Primary Care Center in Bury

BARDOC is based at the Moorgate Primary Care Center in Bury

The court heard that after the death of her son, Ms. Atherton was concerned about regular withdrawals of funds from his bank account, but she attributed this to his doing work on his house.

She said she did not know that he was in debt and that he was always a "saver".

Joanne Kearsley, chief medical examiner, concluded that Mr. Atherton's death was suicide and said: “He made people seem absolutely fine.

"There is clearly something very tragic in his head that he may know will come out."

Ms. Kearsley turned to Mr. Atherton's family and said, “I cannot answer why, and I cannot answer the questions you need to know about this investigation and what happened.

"His death must have been so shocking to you as a family. To hear about the investigation about a month later, you must have so many questions that don't make sense to you."

BARDOC could not be reached for comment. The Greater Manchester Police Department has been asked for a comment.

For confidential assistance, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritan office. More information is available at www.samaritans.org

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